I was reading Nora Roberts Land from the Dare Valley Series this past week when I was on vacation, and I saw something that every novelist should consider in their stories.
It's a romance story / mystery. College age students are going to parties and getting sick and soon a couple of students die in what appear to be natural causes. But that isn't the story. Like I said, it's a romance and that is where the importance of misdirection and misunderstanding comes in.
What do I mean by misdirection and misunderstanding?
I was reading Robert B Parker's novel, Back Story, the other day and I ran across three terrific lines in the story. These lines were so good at painting a picture that I had to stop and write them down. Now, I don't want you to copy these lines and put them in your next novel. No, I want you to study the lines and see if you can add that type of description in your own novel.
What does this line make you see, feel or experience? Does it bring back memories in some way, either good memories or bad memories?
It was bright outside, and the sun was making long parallelograms on my floor.
Wow, can you feel the brilliance of that line? It tells me a couple of things. The sun is shining, duh, but it's also either late afternoon or winter. Late afternoon, the sun could be shining in a west facing window. I suppose it can be early morning coming in an east window. But it could be winter time and the sun is low in the sky coming in a south window. Does the sun warm the room? The sun could be adding tension to the room, if the person is in prison, or being held hostage and there is a time limit for when a deal has to go down.
This line took me back to a building I used to work in a couple of years ago. There were a number of windows that allowed light to make long bright rectangles across the floor.
Then a few paragraphs later someone walked through the room and Robert B Parker wrote,
I want to present to you a comparison of two books and how they start. The lead up to the inciting incident if you will.
One book is by Kevin J Anderson and the other is by Robert Jordan. Both are master writers and I think Kevin J Anderson has written over 150 novels. For Kevin's book, I am reading, The Edge of the World, which I will compare to Robert Jordan's classic, The Eye of the World, the first book in his Wheel of Time Series. I'm going to try to keep from saying one book is better than the other as my goal here is to provide contrast to ways to open a novel to keep your reader's engaged and hooked. Both books can be classified as Epic Fantasy genre with great world building.
Multiple POV to Start the Novel or a Single POV?
In The Edge of the World, Kevin J Anderson begins . . .
I received an email the other day from a friend that isn't feeling any motivation to sit down and do the hard task of writing.
With the pandemic she isn't motivated to write. Days blend into sameness when you can't go anywhere and nothing new is happening. She says she isn't involved in Social Media. She's written short stories and submitted them to publishers and is getting rejected. She stopped coming to our writer's group even though we continued to meet online on discourse. She was involved in other writing groups and I don't know if she continued those or not.Here's a list of actions I take when I'm feeling sluggish about writing.
Exercise is good for waking up your mind and clearing out cobwebs. A long walk in the sun on a spring day will do wonders for motivation to do tasks.2. Read a book on How to Write.